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28 Iconic Pictures and Facts About The Life of Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali

22. Muhammad Ali V/S the Beatles, circa 1965 during his preparation for the 25 February fight against heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

Beatles vs Ali
image source: beatlesbible.com

23. A fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner inspired the character of Rocky Balboa after Sylvester Stallone spent his only remaining $106 on watching the match.  

muhammad ali
image courtesy: Cleveland Press Collection, CSU Archives via boxingnewsonline.net

Stallone recalls the event in his biography,

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“Early in my acting career I realized the only way I would ever prove myself was to create my own role in my own script. On my 29th birthday, I had $106 in the bank. My best birthday present was a sudden revelation that I had to write the kind of screenplay that I personally enjoyed seeing … To cheer myself up, I took the last of my entertainment money and went to see the Ali-Wepner fight on closed circuit TV. Chuck Wepner, a battling, bruising club fighter who had never made the big time, was having his shot.”

He adds emphatically:

“That night, Rocky Balboa was born.”

24. When Muhammad Ali was invited to North Korea in 1995 with an athlete group, he didn’t speak much during the visit. At one function, as officials claimed they could take out the US or Japan whenever they wanted to, Ali declared loudly “no wonder we hate these motherf–s.”

muhammad ali
image source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Professional wrestling manager Ric Flair writes about the incident with Ali in his autobiography Ric Flair: To Be The Man,

“The festival was truly one of the oddest events in this country’s strange history of contact with the outside world. Although the government had hoped to lure Western tourists to Pyongyang, most of those who showed up were overseas Koreans yearning to see long-lost relatives. Their fervent requests for visits were callously refused, however, and instead of enjoying family reunions, they found themselves prisoners at a pro-wrestling extravaganza.”

He adds,

“Because of the ravages of Parkinson’s disease, it was difficult to understand Muhammad Ali when he spoke. But at one function, we were sitting at a big, round table with a group of North Korean luminaries when one of the guys started rambling on about the moral superiority of North Korea, and how they could take out the United States or Japan any time they wanted. Suddenly, Ali piped up, clear as a bell, No wonder we hate these motherf—–s.'”

(source)

25. Police tried for over two hours, but it took Muhammad Ali to finally talk a suicidal 21-year-old off the 9th floor of a high-rise in LA, 1981.

muhammad ali suicide victim
image source: imgur.com

After the police, a psychologist and a minister had given up on the man, Ali, who was nearby rushed to a nearby window and extended his help. After a tense 20 minutes had passed, the man wept and was taken to a psychiatric ward. The heavyweight champion even promised to visit the man the following week.(source)

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26. When 14-year-old Mike Tyson saw Larry Holmes beat Muhammad Ali, he called up Ali and said: I’ll grow up and get him back for you. 7 years later, Tyson meets Holmes; retired Ali steps into the ring and says: “Remember what you said — get him for me.” 

Tyson holmes
Image courtesy: Focus on Sport / Getty Images

The date was October 2, 1980. Holmes defeats Ali and retains the title. Tyson recalls the event in an interview with ESPN,

“I was offended by how bad he beat up Ali. When we drove home to Catskill , nobody in the car said a word, we were all so upset. The next morning, Cus was on the phone with Muhammad Ali after taking this shellacking from Holmes. He said to Ali, ‘I have this young black kid who is going to be heavyweight champion someday and I want you to talk to him.'”

Years later, Ali returns as a guest to the Tyson v/s Holmes fight and whispers a single sentence to the Tyson decimates Larry Holmes, reaching the peak of his career that night.(source)

27. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984 when he was 42 years old, speculated to be the result of sustaining brain injuries during his career as a boxer. 

Muhammad Ali
image source: Getty Images via mirror.co.uk

Symptoms of Parkinson’s appeared when he retired in 1981, even though he received an official diagnosis only three years later. As Dr. Dennis Cope, Ali’s physician and director of the training program in general internal medicine at the UCLA Medical Center said at the time,

“Our feeling is that Muhammad Ali’s condition is ‘pugilistic brain syndrome,’ caused by injuries to the brain from fighting.”

(source)

28. Muhammad Ali’s star is the only one that is mounted on a wall instead of the sidewalk, because he “did not want to be walked on.”

muhammad ali star
image courtesy: AP Photos / Reed Saxon

His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the only star which is not on the sidewalk; rather, it is on the wall of the Kodak Theatre to honor his request. Ali, who was 59 years old at the time, explained,

“I bear the name of our Beloved Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), and it is impossible that I allow people to trample over his name.”

(source)

RIP Muhammad Ali, ‘The Greatest of All Time’
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